After a busy few days of talking to authors at BookExpo America and a couple of weeks editing the results, it's time to start sharing the more than a dozen interviews Daphne and I did with a pretty spectacular group of writers there. And this week's overdetermined opener is China Mieville. As you may have noticed, it's China Week on Omni, with a superbly provocative set of guest posts from China himself (more to come!) and some great related pieces from Jeff. And it's also my turn to write about one of my Best of June picks, which happens to be ... The City & The City, Mr. Mieville's latest.
I'd usually preface an interview by introducing the author, but Jeff and China have more than taken care of that this week. So I will just say (as I immediately declare in the interview below) that I adored The City & The City--it's easily one of my favorite books of the year so far. I have to admit that, though I'd been wanting to check him out for years, this was my first Mieville. (I have Perdido Street Station lined up next when I can get a chance, though I'm open to other opinions about where to go back to first...) But I've passed this one along to many other Mieville neophytes in our offices, and they're all with me: this is shaping up to be one of those books that I'd put in front of almost any reader, whatever their usual genre loyalties. The two cities he creates--and the relationship between them, which becomes apparent fairly quickly in the book but in a way whose elegant revelation I don't want to spoil for future readers--are both fantastic and utterly convincing and familiar, and even as the details of the actual mystery at the heart of the story fade in my mind, the sense memory of what it's like to live in Beszel and Ul Qoma--and to cross the border between them--feels as vivid as when I was first finding my way through their fictional streets. I highly recommend the experience.
You can listen to our talk about cities, detectives, and readers below, or read a transcript after the jump: